Hudson Highlands: Breakneck Ridge Loop

While the Hudson Highlands are modest in elevation, they are home to some incredible hiking. What the peaks lack in height they make up for with incredible views of the Hudson Valley and convenient access for those in the metro area.

breakneck ridge summit view

Proximity to the Hudson Highlands was a major selling point for my wife and I when we moved to Rockland County. Each time I climb one of the local summits and take in the beauty of the region, it reaffirms that we made a great decision.

There are countless options for hikes in the Hudson Valley, but my personal favorite is Breakneck Ridge. The steepness and exposure — unrivaled south of the Adirondacks — make for a challenging and memorable experience.

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Wildcat Ridge: Dryland Season Comes Early

With freezing rain forecast for Sunday in southern Vermont, I decided to catch up on sleep and stay local. I don’t mind skiing in that stuff, but I’d prefer not to drive in it. After a leisurely breakfast, I set out for a run in Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Rockaway, NJ.

wildcat ridge boulders

Wildcat Ridge covers about 3700 acres. With the nearby Mt Hope Park, Picatinny Arsenal, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, and the Rockaway Valley WMA, you’re looking at around 17,000 contiguous acres of open land. Compared to New York’s big parks, that’s a drop in a bucket, but there are plenty of opportunities to run, mountain bike, and, at times, in the winter, you can even ski. If you’re ambitious,  you can go off trail to look for signs of the old ski jump at Lake Telemark.

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Quebec: Long Lakes and Climbing Takes

I looked up at the stars with my head cocked all the way back, as if my body was about to be sucked up into the heavens. This view alone was worth the two year wait since I first heard about the cliffs along Lac Long, a little north and west of Quebec City. It was Friday night, and it felt great to settle in after hiking by our campsite inadvertently, well past dark.

The park is a climbing-insiders favorite here, providing a mix of established and open traditional lines in a setting that is neither remote adventuring or old news, a locals spot that’s also worth a pilgrimage. Perhaps the reason it is so perfectly overlooked, like Val David, is that it resides in yet another Quebec regional park.

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